Trivia time! Are you smarter than a NYC reporter?

By Caitlin Kelly

English: New York, New York. Newsroom of the N...
English: New York, New York. Newsroom of the New York Times newspaper. Reporters and rewrite men writing stories, and waiting to be sent out. Rewrite man in background gets the story on the phone from reporter outside. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week I went back to defend our title in the Asian American Journalists Association annual trivia contest, which The New York Times won last year, beating The Wall Street Journal, Fox News and others.

Each company can bring a team of ten, and the goal is to raise funds for scholarships and other AAJA programs. Being a trivia fiend who once qualified for Jeopardy, this is my kind of night!

It was held in a beautiful ballroom on Broad Street, at very southern end of Manhattan, a half a block from the New York Stock Exchange. It’s a part of the city I never visit, where all you can see are thin slices of sky barely visible above the narrow, steep canyon walls of skyscrapers. Guys with gelled hair in costly suits stride past, weary from a day of moving millions, or billions, of dollars.

It also reminded me, sadly, how terrifying 9/11 must have been down there as thousands of people ran as fast and far as they could from the huge dark cloud of dust and debris that chased them through those narrow streets.

The event brought out a combined team from CBS/ABC, from General Motors (the main sponsor) and others, including AARP, who were nothing if not consistent — dead-last in 8th. place the whole evening.

We were tied for fourth through the first four rounds, suddenly ascending after the fifth round to second place — but losing by (shriek) three points. But we had a blast, got to know some new people and are even more determined to re-claim the Tea Cup next year.

The raffle prizes must have been bid on by our table alone as we kept winning them. I scored a $450 three-month health club membership for my $20 worth of tickets. Cool!

So, my dears, here are some of the 60 questions lobbed at us.

No Googling!

Which actor has won the most Academy Awards?

What is the best-selling album of all time?

What is the longest-running scripted show on American television?

From which novel did the company Starbucks get its name?

How many oceans are there?

What is the capital of West Virginia?

Pluto was re-classified as a planet to….?

Which dinosaur turned out not to be real after all?

What is the name of the spacecraft that landed on the moon?

Which two lawyers argued the Scopes monkey trial?

Which designer currently heads the Fashion Designers Council of America?

What was the 48th. state?

What is the only even prime number?

What country lies directly north of Germany?

Who is the founder of Standard Oil?

Which President is the only one to have held a patent?

Which American athlete has won the most Winter Olympics medals?

Which fashion designer took over after the death of Alexander McQueen?


We won! Take the trivia test The New York Times team killed this week

So much fun!

On Friday night — in the same ABC TV studio on West 67th. where “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire” was once shot — I joined The New York Times trivia team in the 16-team competition for Trivia Bowl, created in 1994 by the Los Angeles chapter of the Asian-American Journalists Association.

My husband, who works at the Times, told me they were seeking competitors and I had qualified for Jeopardy (a popular American quiz show), back in 2006, so what the hell?

Our team of 10 included a copy editor, a former page designer, a reporter and me, a 20-year Times freelancer. I knew only one person on the team, who I’d met a decade earlier at a picnic and hadn’t seen since.

This was the first time the contest was held in New York, and teams came out from CNN, ABC, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Time and others. It was fun to see colleagues…as I reached for a spring roll in the food line-up, a man reached in front of me — the former national editor at the New York Daily News, now at ABC. I hadn’t seen him since 2006.

We’d worked together on a bunch of stories, including one that the Times’ kicked our ass on, but we kicked back. (A helicopter had fallen off a mountain in Afghanistan and the Army refused to give the News access to the military base in NY where many of the soldiers’ families were from. There are few American cities as competitive for news than New York! I once did a stake-out for 12 hours in 80 degree heat outside a midtown hotel and it was crazy. The Times guy even followed me into the elevator to see where I was going.)

So you can imagine the geek-fueled adrenaline in the room on Friday. Of course, no tools or aids were allowed.

I loved that our judges were, in their daily life, professional judges — six men and women who adjudicate cases in housing court and even the Supreme Court of New York. Cool!

We competed in five rounds: Entertainment; Geography/Science/Literature; Current Events/Sports; History/Elections;Presidents; New York.

Yes, the questions are both North America-centric and New York-centric. Good luck!

So, (working from memory!) here are some of the 80 questions. The ones I knew are marked with a C:

What was the original name of New York City? C

Name two musicals that won both a Tony and a Pulitzer prize

Name the two men who won Oscars in successive years

What do you call someone who studies dinosaurs? C

In which state is the town of Truth or Consequences? C

Which president was born in New York City?

Of the city’s five boroughs, which is the smallest in area?

What is the name of Kate Middleton’s dog?

What is the title of JK Rowling’s newest book?

Which Presidents are on Mt. Rushmore?

Which magazine sparked the Occupy Wall Street movement? C

On the 1970s television show All in The Family, which Queens neighborhood did they live in?

Which Asian designer created Michelle Obama’s dress for the inauguration ball? C

Two First Ladies have graced the cover of American Vogue. Michelle Obama was the second — who was the first? C

Which two countries lie directly below Saudi Arabia? C

Which is the third most-spoken language in Canada?

Who first recorded the song “New York, New York?”

Which hockey team has won the most Stanley Cups? C

What is the chemical symbol for salt? C

Who were the Three Musketeers? C

No Googling allowed!

Your answers….?